mon 22/04/2024

Caetano Veloso and Teresa Cristina, Barbican | reviews, news & interviews

Caetano Veloso and Teresa Cristina, Barbican

Caetano Veloso and Teresa Cristina, Barbican

Veteran Brazilian idol and new samba star warm up the Barbican

Veloso and Cristina: Brazilians in harmony

Caetano Veloso is a unique figure in world popular music. As bright as the likes of David Byrne and Brian Eno, but also a genuine pop star, beloved by “chamber maids and taxi drivers” as well as the intellectual liberal élite. In the late 1960s, he reinvented Brazilian pop music with friends like Gilberto Gil in the Tropicalismo movement.

He went into exile to London in the 1970s during the time of the dictatorship, played with androgyny at a time when that was subversive, wrote some of the best songs anywhere of the last few decades and has a unique, pliable, immensely expressive voice, even if that voice is losing some elements of the incredible suppleness it had. At 75, he can still hit the notes.

His last tour was with fellow radical Gilberto Gil, but this tour paired him with a seemingly more conservative choice, Tereza Cristina, who opened the evening at the Barbican accompanied by guitarist Carlinhos Sete Cordas ( “Carlos Seven Strings”). She showcased some numbers from her recent album, which comprises songs by Brazil's beloved Angenor de Oliveira, known as "Cartola" (Portuguese for top hat), an album of old-style samba, performed on stage with elegance and grace. There are numerous adventurous modern Brazilian female singers like Céu or Luisa Maita who would have proved a more obviously adventurous choice. Samba can sound informal and raw, as in samba de roda, but this was the more urban, classy version, if anything too sophisticated in its gentility.

Veloso himself accompanied himself on guitar, and this was a way to hear songs like “Os Passistas” or his song of exile “London, London” stripped down. Some of his songs were anyway were recorded minimally like the immortal “O Leozinho” (about, of all things, a small lion). The most startling moment of the evening was his a capella version of Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” while he flirted with kitsch with the old Mexican standard “Cucurrucucu Paloma”.

A packed-out audience rose in acclaim after he had finished the show with some duets from Tereza Cristina. For many Brazilians Veloso's songs are more than just music, but a soundtrack to their lives. With this tour being a mammoth global trek, and with his oldest friend Gilberto Gil reportedly suffering from health issues and unable to sing, there was gratitiude and celebration for a singular artist who reinvigorated and renewed Brazilian music,

Veloso is beloved by 'chamber maids and taxi drivers' as well as the intellectual liberal élite


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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